What Is Plogging?

headshot for katy lang program director active transportation arlington va
Katy Lang Tweet Us @walkarlington@walkarlington June 10, 2019

Katy Lang was previously Program Director for Active Transportation. She started living car-free in Arlington in 2010 and is passionate about finding great running routes and safety for people walking and biking.

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Did you miss our clean-up on Opening Day for Trails? Plogging is a fun way to do a clean-up on your own and get some exercise.

Plogging is the latest trend in fitness. It is the act of picking up trash while you jog or run, so named because it is a mash-up of the Swedish words for pick up, “plocka upp,” and the English word “jog.”

While the plogging trend originated in Sweden, keeping streets and paths litter-free has long been a pastime for environmentalists. What’s new about plogging is that it combines picking up litter with a workout. Plogging intensifies a running workout because you are also squatting down to pick up litter. It can also be done walking.

person picking up trash

Why Plog?

Plogging has many benefits. Streets, paths, and hiking trails become cleaner after each plogging effort. Trash that could become environmental hazards, pollute waterways, or get ingested by animals is removed from the streets, which is a big deal because litter costs governments, businesses, and schools across the US billions of dollars per year. And the health benefits of plogging make this activity a win-win (think about all of the squats!).

While each of us must take responsibility by not littering, recycling, and keeping our environment clean, this doesn’t always happen. Ploggers enjoy the benefit of knowing that they have positively contributed to their communities.

Tips for Plogging

  • Carry a small trash bag or plastic bag with you to hold the trash, and wear gloves.
  • If your typical running or walking route is out-and-back, identify items to pick up on the way out, and then actually pause to pick them all up on the way back.
  • Shift the bag from hand to hand every so often, so the weight stays distributed as you move.
  • Consider asking a local business along your route if you could use their dumpster or bin—this prevents you from needing to bring your bag of picked-up litter back to your starting point.
  • Don’t feel that you have to do it every time you go out for a walk or jog. Make it a monthly or weekend tradition.
  • Bring a friend or organize a group!
  • Use the hashtag #plogging to find a community of ploggers near you.

Finally, congratulate yourself on helping to keep your community clean.

Find Your Trail

Looking for a trail to plog on? Arlington has dozens of miles of beautiful trails that could all use a helping hand.

Photo Credit:

Reema Desai/ReemaDesai.com

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